Bluebird Theatre, Denver, CO
Monday, 26 October 1998
with The Czars & Venus Diablo
...so, last night Low played Denver's Bluebird Theatre. Wow. Let's get the technical details out of the way:
- Lord, Can You Hear Me?
* The actual setlist says they were going to play Throw Out The Line instead. I'm glad they chose Violence
** Someone yelled out "Play Sarah" to which I (fairly quietly) responded "It's called 'Lazy'" Anyway, they played it. :) They setlist indicateds that they were actually going to play Landlord after the Will The Night.
A quick word about Venus Diablo: Two guys, one guitar, one bass. The vocalist had a great voice...a little like Brendan Perry. I never really decided what I thought of the music as a whole, but it was an enjoyable set.
A word about the Czars: They sound better everytime I see them. Their vocalist, John Grant, has one of the most amazing voices. The music...well, it is a strange mix. Here is what Simon Raymonde (Cocteau Twins) has to say: "The music is a sort of cool mix of Patsy Cline, David Lynch, Jim Morrison, though not really any of those!" Why is Simon Raymonde commenting about this Denver band? Well, he just finished recording them at his studio, September Sound, and will be releasing their new record on his label Bella Union early next year. Incidentally, Paula Frazer of Tarnation sang on a few of the songs on the record. Anyway, they were a great band to see before Low. The started with just John on stage singing Patsy Cline's "Strange" over drum machine/keyboard thing. Most of the songs were from the new record, and they all sounded wonderful. Also, we had the pleasure of watching their filmaker friend use three (or maybe four?) projectors to show all sorts of films (from "The Thing" to 1960s "Denver is a town on the grow" type things) on a screen behind them. I talked briefly to both John and Chris (the bassist) after the show and they seemed quite excited about the new release. Also, both seemed absolutely in awe of Low. Chris told me he'd beeen trying to get that show for three years. Glad he finally did. (If I've convinced anyone that they want to know about the Czars, please just contact me off-list, and I can give you contact info. Incidentally, I don't really know the band or anything, I just like their music.)
Alright...now I'll tell you about Low. First things first...the Bluebird is a nice theatre on east Colfax in Denver. This is not the nicest part of town (there's an adult bookstore right next to the theatre). Alan says: "This is a really nice theatre you've got here. I understand it used to be part of the next door neighbors." Eeek! In any case, the sound at the Bluebird is almost always superb. Last night was no exception. When Low started into "Lord..." I thought I was going to explode. The notes were so clear. Mimi and Alan were really together...the harmonies were perfect. That song alone made the night for me. Next comes "Condescend"...Zak did the cool bass thing just like in Portland last year...I love that. How can you not like Zak? "Immune" is such an addictive little pop song. I found myself humming it all last night before I went to bed...of course, I had just listened to it on the Random comp. about 5 times, so that could explain it. For "Be There" Zak played a little casio keyboard which was sitting on Mimi's drum riser. Perfect! It was nice to hear the stuff from "Songs..." live again. The last time I saw Low, it was before "Songs..." had been released, so that was my introduction to those songs. Now, I was really not expecting to hear the opening notes of "Words"; I'm pretty sure it was surprise to a lot of people there. I think I heard a few gasps. What a treat. "Violence" was even more of a treat for me. That's one I hadn't see them do live before...one of my favorites. "Turn." Guh? Another one I wasn't expecting. This is one of those Low songs filled with tension...and lots of reverb. I love those kind of Low songs. "Lion & Lamb" is another excellent new song...again, Zak played the little Casio. Alan: "We're about to go record some new songs." Audience member: "Whooooo!" Alan: "Well, you know. Uh, I guess we'll play one for you now." "Coattails" is the perfect end to any Low set. Don't let anyone tell you different! I almost giggled at the way Low walked off stage, probably stood there for 30 seconds while we clapped, then walked right back on stage. The aformentioned request for "Lazy" was played....then..."This is a song about a friend of ours who drives an ambulance..." which instantly had me clapping. I'd only heard "Starfire" once before in Portland a year ago. I've had the one line "I want a station of my own" in my head ever since. It is as amazing as I remember it. "Will The Night" live still reminds me of some kind of twisted prom song. Perfect.
So, as expected, I was too shy to yell out "Prisoner", so I didn't get to hear it. Ah, well...maybe next year. I'm actually pretty amazed that I've seen Low four times now without hearing that song or "Do You Know How To Waltz?" Anyway, there is no way to complain about last night's performance; certainly the best Low show I've seen.
The crowd...was quite sizable. And mostly polite. There were some people murmuring and whatnot in the bar all night (actually, I think it was the bartender girls), but I just filtered them out.
Merchandise...Low had lots of stuff which they sold on the stage afterwards. A big box of t-shirts (black and light blue skull & crossbones design. I wasn't going to buy one as I already have a couple Low shirts, but the irony of a light blue shirt with a skull & crossbones advertising Low was too much for me, so I gave in), the live cd, "Songs...", "Sleep at the Bottom" 7" (incidentally, Mimi didn't seem too thrilled about this...but it might just have been the Mimi persona shining through), and the Random comp. (which I bought, of course).
Didn't really get to speak to the band other than "Zak, did you bring any 'Random Acts of Radio'?" and "Thank you" to Mimi who took my money. They all seemed cheerful and happy with the evening though.
...anyway, so long, good bye, good night...